Saturday 11 March 2023 – This is the time of reconciliation

2nd Week of Lent

1st Reading: Mi 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, That dwells apart in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel. Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old; As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs. Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins; You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and grace to Abraham, As you have sworn to our fathers from days of old.

Gospel Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  So to them Jesus addressed this parable. “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.  He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

This is the time of reconciliation: A Spanish young man ran away from home after a quarrel with his father. His mum was grief-stricken and almost every day was in a phone call urging him to return. He finally gave a condition to return: He wanted to know if the father had changed his attitude and was ready to have him back. The sign would be a white cloth draped on the tree in front of their home located before the train station. If not, he would continue and not disembark. Needless to say, almost all the trees, for almost a kilometre to their home were draped with white cloths. He was welcomed by almost the whole town and finally crying uncontrollably he found himself in his parent’s arms. God is ever ready to forgive us to our utter amazement because he forgives even when human beings cannot forgive. This is the love that will always leave us in wonder and praise!

PRAYER: Lord help us to forgive. Guide your Church to unleash the ministry of reconciliation in the whole world! Amen!


SERVANT OR A SON: This is yet another of the parables unique to the Gospel of Luke. This parable contains all the message of Jesus. The core of this parable is in what the younger son wanted to tell the father and what he ended up saying. He rehearsed himself with these lines: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.” But when he actually spoke to the father he omitted the last part of the sentence. Maybe the father did not give him time to complete it. So, the younger son wanted to return to the home as a servant/slave, but he is given the status of the son: robe, sandals, and ring. Now look at what the elder son said to the father: “Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders…” Sadly, he was just a slave in the home of his father. What a pity! God invites us to be his children, not slaves. He invites us to join the celebration of life.